non·​re·​new·​able ˌnän-ri-ˈnü-ə-bəl How to pronounce nonrenewable (audio)
: not able to be renewed : not renewable
a nonrenewable service contract
especially : unable to be replaced or replenished once used
… most of the natural resources that we exploit for energy and minerals are nonrenewable. Once they have been used up, they cannot be replenished—at least in our lifetime. Sheldon Judson and Marvin E. Kauffman
A nonrenewable resource is a resource that cannot be replaced after it is used. Minerals and many fuels are nonrenewable resources. Dr. Timothy Cooney et al.
Physical and economic shortages of nonrenewable resources require research programs aimed at developing renewable replacement resources. Predicasts Technology Update
Lubbock is the principal city of the semi-arid southern High Plains of Texas, where the extensive, nonrenewable Ogallala aquifer is the major water resource. AAG Abstracts

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web But helium — a nonrenewable element found deep within the Earth’s crust — is running low, leaving hospitals wondering how to plan for a future with a much scarcer supply. Caroline Hopkins, NBC News, 22 Oct. 2022 Much of the country’s energy comes from nonrenewable resources that contribute to climate change. WIRED, 30 Sep. 2022 Their sizes range from nine judges to 27, and most judges serve nonrenewable eight-year terms. Henry Gass, The Christian Science Monitor, 4 Aug. 2022 Although grids are currently powered through a variety of energy sources — including nonrenewable coal — many are shifting toward renewables over time. Chris Moody, Washington Post, 14 Sep. 2022 That’s vindication for companies such as Shell and TotalEnergies, which invested in both renewable and nonrenewable energy, and for oil majors that made smaller bets on renewables, such as Chevron and Exxon. Peter Vanham, Fortune, 31 Aug. 2022 Making your house more energy-efficient and less reliant on nonrenewable energy sources should cost less after this bill takes effect. Jessica Roy, Los Angeles Times, 12 Aug. 2022 Companies should aim to prioritize sustainability initiatives in an industry that heavily relies on renewable and nonrenewable resources. Graham Farrar, Rolling Stone, 19 Apr. 2022 Natural gas, a nonrenewable source, still makes up about half of California’s total in-state electricity generation, according to data from the California Energy Commission released in April. Yoohyun Jung, San Francisco Chronicle, 1 July 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nonrenewable.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1903, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of nonrenewable was in 1903

Dictionary Entries Near nonrenewable

Cite this Entry

“Nonrenewable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Feb. 2023.

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